Kings win fifth consecutive game behind Cousins 48 point performance

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Sacramento Kings
Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

By Charlie O. Mallonee

Sacramento – On Saturday night in Sleep Train Arena, it was DeMarcus Cousins’ world and the rest of us were privileged to live in it.

The Kings won their fifth consecutive game downing the Indiana Pacers 108-97 behind Cousins’ 48 points and 13 rebounds. Cousins literally controlled the paint on the offensive end of the floor fighting off two and three defenders on his way to the basket.

The Kings went on a 7-0 run to open the game and served notice that they had come to play and play hard. Sacramento led the game wire to wire as they posted their 20th win of the season.

A game that appeared to be a possible “cake walk” for the Kings turned into a battle on both ends of the floor. The Kings controlled the paint outscoring the Pacers 58-32 down low. The Pacers turned up their defense and held the Kings to 44.7-percent (38-for-85) shooting from the floor and causing Sacramento to turn the ball over 15 times resulting in 19 Indiana points.

Kings head coach George Karl said before the game that his team would have battle the very athletic hands of the Pacers. Indiana lived up to that billing making the Kings work hard for every point they scored after the opening run.

Sacramento also brought its defense to game. The Kings held the Pacers to just 41.9-percent (36-for-86) shooting from the floor. It was the second consecutive game that the Kings held their opponents under 100 points. Sacramento had averaged giving up 107.4 points per game coming into Saturday night’s contest.

The Kings had not won five consecutive games since October 31 to November 7,2014. Sacramento’s record now stands at 20-23. They are now 12-11 at home.

The loss caused Pacers record to fall to 23-21. Indiana has lost five of their last six games.


Cousins scored his career-high 48 points going 17-for-29 from the floor. He was 1-for-2 from 3-point range and 13-for-20 from the free throw line. Cousins recorded a double-double by grabbing 13 rebounds. He played a game-high 39 minutes.

Rajon Rondo posted another triple-double against the Pacers. Rondo scored 11 points, distributed 10 assists and pulled down 10 rebounds in the game. It was his sixth triple-double of the season and made Rondo the all-time leader in the Sacramento era in that category.

Willie Cauley-Stein played another strong game for Sacramento. He played 34 minutes scoring six points and recording 12 rebounds. Five of those rebounds were on the offensive end and extended possessions for the Kings.

Darren Collison scored 11 points, Kosta Koufos 9, Omri Casspi 8, Marco Belinelli 7, Ben McLemore 5 and James Anderson 3.

The Kings won their second consecutive game without Rudy Gay on floor. Gay missed the game due to a left heel contusion.


Paul George led the Pacers scoring attack putting up 34 points. George shot 9-for-20 from the field but was 4-for-8 from beyond the 3-point arc. He also went 12-for-14 from the free throw line.

Center Jordan Hill scored 17 points and had 13 rebounds to make it a double-double game for him.

Monta Ellis scored 16 points while dishing out seven assists for the Pacers.

Lavoy Allen put up nine points, Myles Turner 11, George Hill 8 and Joe Young 2.

What they said after the game

Kings head coach George Karl called DeMarcus Cousins performance, “Pretty special. They kind of didn’t have an answer and they were letting us have almost everything. I think what Cuz didn’t do at a high level tonight was make the 3-ball. Even his mistakes or turnovers or his forced issues at times were still pretty powerful for us; kept the rhythm, kept the flow.”

Karl added, “His (Cousins) skills are off the chart, his hands, and his ability to put it on the floor and get to the rim. Defensively he’s good, maybe very good. He does all of the fundamental nature of the game of basketball at a high, high level.”

“Honestly I’m more happy about the win,” said Cousins after the game. “I’m glad I got a new career high, but I’m more happy about the way this team is playing. We’ve been through a lot this season – a lot of ups and downs, but we’re on the right path right now. I think we’re growing each and every game. Like I’ve been saying, my mindset is just playoffs.”

“Well they went to him (Cousins) every time down the floor for 48 straight minutes”, said Indiana head coach Frank Vogel. “You get 29 field goal attempts and 20 free throw attempts – that’s high usage. That’s what the analytics people call a high usage rate. Our top big man defender is out. Guys that were in there – our three bigs – battled, did the best they could, but he’s a big load. He’s a load and when he’s going to get touches every single time … he’s going to put up those kind of numbers.”

Up next

The Kings will be back on the floor Monday night when they host the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets beat the Kings 127-122 in overtime on November 23, 2015.

Indiana heads home to host the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.

Thompson’s career-high 41 points paces Warriors past Lakers

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon

OAKLAND — It’s official: Klay Thompson loves to play the Los Angeles Lakers.

Thompson scored a career-high 41 points, guiding the Golden State Warriors to their first home win of the season with a 127-104 victory over Los Angeles in front of a sellout crowd of 19,596 at Oracle Arena Saturday night.

“We got into a great offensive flow tonight,” said Thompson, who also grabbed five rebounds. “I thought if we could stay aggressive and play well, we could win.”

Stephen Curry scored 31 points and dished out 10 assists (turning the ball over just twice).

“We wanted to come out and be aggressive and feed off this crowd,” Curry said. “It was a collective win.”

Golden State found themselves down by 43-33 in midway through the second quarter, but went on a 25-4 run to take a 61-55 lead at halftime. After Los Angeles shot 63% from the floor in the first quarter, Golden State limited the Lakers to just 50% shooting in the second quarter.

Harrison Barnes added 15 points, and Draymond Green chipped in nine points and five rebounds while starting in place of injured power forward, David Lee.

Andre Iguodala and Leandro Barbosa scored nine points each to the lead the Warriors’ scoring off the bench.

“We got a lot to work on, but when you have Thompson and Curry in the backcourt, with the versatility of a [Harrison] Barnes and a [Draymond] Green, its fun to coach,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.

“I thought our energy didn’t really show up until the third quarter, but I liked how we responded and continued to play hard and executed  the game plan better.”

After shooting 3-of-10 from the field and scoring just eight points in the first half, Kobe Bryant scored 19 of his 28 points in the third quarter. Bryant and Thompson put on a show in the third quarter, trading baskets and playing each other aggressively. The Lakers’ legend also finished tied for the team lead with six rebounds.

“He’s [Bryant] is such a great player that’s done it all in the league,” Thompson said, “He’s amazing.”

Jordan Hill scored 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting, and Wesley Johnson added 15 points. Ed Davis had 13 points and six rebounds for the Lakers.

Los Angeles has dropped their fourth game in five nights and at 0-4, it’s the first time that the Lakers have started a season 0-4 in their history in Los Angeles.

The Warriors had their way with the Lakers down low, outscoring Los Angeles 62-42 in the paint. Golden State smothered Los Angeles’ 3-point shooting, handcuffing the Purple & Gold to 4-of-14 (28%) from beyond the arc.

The real story was the play of Thompson, who finished 14-of-18 shooting from the field, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range. Thompson’s previous career-high of 38 points came in Golden State’s home opening win last year against, coincidentally, the Lakers.

Many wondered after Thompson and Golden State agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $70 million if Thompson is even worth such a large financial commitment. I think with Thompson’s performance tonight, he’s answered the question that the money that Golden State has committed into keeping the “Splash Brothers” together, will be well spent.

“We had some great flow tonight…It’s always fun playing the Lakers,” Thompson said.

At 2-0, Golden State heads to Portland to take on the Trailblazers and Oakland native, Damien Lilliard, Sunday before returning home to take on their bitter rivals the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

Game Notes:

The Golden State Warriors announced Thursday that the team has exercised the fourth-year contract options on forward Harrison Barnes and center Festus Ezeli, which are for the 2015-16 NBA season. The team did not exercise the third-year contract option on guard Nemanja Nedovic.


Curry’s Triple-Double, Romping of Lakers Clinches Playoff Berth for Warriors

By Matthew Harrington

The Golden State Warriors locked in their spot in the 2014 NBA Playoffs Friday night at the Staples Center, riding a Stephen Curry triple-double to a 112-95 dismantling of the host Los Angeles Lakers. By matching or outscoring the Lakers (25-54) in all but one quarter the Dubs clinched their second-consecutive playoff berth under coach Mark Jackson and their first back-to-back postseason qualifications since 1992.

Warriors All-Star Curry fired off 30 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds over 34 minutes for his fifth-career triple-double. Klay Thompson and reserve Marreese Speights finished with 16 points apiece. David Lee joined Curry in double-digit rebounded with 10 boards.

Nick Young paced the forum purple with 25 points, and Jordan Hill and Ryan Kelly pitched in 18 and 14 respectively. Hill also had a game-high 12 points.

Golden State (49-30) nailed 48.9 percent of shots attempted, including a 13-for-25 clip from beyond the arc. The injury-riddled Lakers hit 39.3 percent of their field goals including only 9-of-28 from downtown. The Warriors dominated the glass with 57 rebounds to LA’s 42.

Both sides finished the first 12 minutes with 26 points. The Warriors rode a huge second quarter to pull ahead 58-42, notching 32 second-quarter points to Los Angeles’ 17. Golden State survived a Lakers 26-25 third quarter scoring margin before finishing off the home team with a 29-26 run to wrap up a playoff bid.

For now, the Warriors sit 1.5 games ahead of the Dallas Mavericks for sixth-place in the Western Conference with Golden State boasting a game in hand. The Portland Trailblazers sit 2.5 games ahead of the Warriors with three games remaining for the Dubs meaning in all likelihood, Golden State will be returning to Los Angeles and the Staples Center to face the third-seed Clippers when the playoffs begin. For now, the task at hand for Jackson’s side is a showdown with the Blazers on Sunday in Portland before the second half of a back-to-back against Minnesota at Oracle. The Warriors then get a chance to wrap up the regular season with revenge against the Denver Nuggets, 100-99 winners in a April 10th showdown in Oakland.